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Fitness trainer Mostafa Mersal showing correct workout steps. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Image Credit:

The most common workout methods for those pursuing a healthy lifestyle are cardio or weightlifting exercises, with the aim of toning the body and looking fit.

Most people try all types or routines of workouts, even exercising six times a week, hoping that this will get them into that skinny fit jeans or shirt. But they often lack the right tips in order to keep their body in the fat burning zone and achieving their long-term goal.

The first natural fat burner is water. If you consume five per cent of your body weight on a daily basis, you will see a massive change in your overall well-being. You should also organise your food intake and consume smaller portions to improve your metabolism. Food has a huge impact on insulin levels in the body and if we avoid spikes (big meals) or drops (long hours without food) the body will function better and it will help a lot during the fat burning process.

Resistance training such as boot camps and circuit training are the best workouts to burn fat, where all the muscles are active in one go. Try keeping your heart rate between 140-160 bpm (fat burning zone) for the longest time possible. This way, you will be working on the cardio-vascular system and putting it under pressure to keep the body in that zone.

So to help you achieve those goals, here are five common mistakes people make while training, which prevents them from losing weight or shaping up their body:

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Fitness trainer Mostafa Mersal showing correct workout steps. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

1. Focusing on heavy lifting

People go to the gym and copy what they see others do and try to lift heavy weights without any professional guidance from a trainer. Heavy lifting, which will shoot your heart rate above 160bpm (pumping zone), should be done gradually and progressively with the assistance of a coach who will draw a plan to reach the desired goal. In fact, heavy lifting will grow the muscles in size and look bulkier, which is not recommended for people who are trying to lose weight when they should be focusing solely on toning their muscles.

2. Spending hours on the treadmill

Most people who want to lose weight in a short period of time use the treadmill as the easiest way to burn the excess fat even though it is actually the poorest type of training, since it only involves the lower body (legs) and does not help in shaping up the body.

3. Increasing the number of reps on the same muscle thinking that they are toning it

The term ‘fat targeting’ unfortunately doesn’t exist and thinking that overworking the same muscle over and over again will make you lose that fat (for example, the belly) in incorrect. In fact, to lose fat, you will have to decrease the BFP (body fat percentage) of the entire body, so you should engage as many muscles as possible to keep the heart rate level above 140bpm the entire time you’re exercising.

4. Workout on a full stomach

Working out on a full stomach will make it really difficult to breath during the set. The heart would pump in most of the blood and the food that has been consumed will remain undigested in the stomach and will start to digest only after completing the workout. Additionally, you will not be able to derive the energy from whatever you have consumed, and hence a pre-workout meal should always be consumed at least 45-60 minutes before the workout. To lose weight, you should workout on an empty stomach.

5. Having a protein shake or food once you finish your workout

After the workout, the body is in the fat burning mode. The best strategy for weight loss is to eat around two hours post the workout. So you won’t stop the burning cycle.

— Mostafa Mersal is the lead coach of Fitness Bootcamp DXB. Follow them on Instagram at @fbcdxb.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Always seek the advice of your doctor before making any health decisions.

Watch Mostafa's top tips here: